If you have ever worked in a noisy office environment, you will have probably faced many of the everyday distractions, whether it’s a talkative co-worker, loud phone noises or the radio.
Ask yourself. How many times have you had to leave the office to find a quiet place to get something important done?
Many offices adopt an open plan layout as a way to aid collaborative work, but while bringing people together, an exposed space can be disruptive. Maintaining a balance between efficient, open workplaces without compromising on individual well-being and productivity is a challenge for many businesses.
Open-plan offices are a hotbed of noise; from the clatter of keyboards, to office gossip and ringing telephones. In varying degrees, acoustics can have a significant effect on short-term productivity, which can have long-term negative effects on employee well-being, and, in turn, business revenue.
One research from IPSOS revealed that open-plan office workers lose 85 minutes a day due to distractions.
Acoustic design is full of simple techniques that employers can use to make open spaces as ergonomic as possible for their workers. Technology, such as sound absorbing panels, can reduce noise in breakout areas, and installing carpet instead of hard flooring can absorb unwanted sounds and reduce echo throughout a space.
The idea that maximizing open-plan spaces for as many employees as possible is still one of the biggest challenges designers face.
If open-plan offices are to truly be the ideal place to collaborate with fellow employees, the work environment needs to be perfected so that it caters to everyone.
Remember, there are many different ways to improve the acoustics of a room. Like creating breakout areas, soundproofing meeting rooms, and using materials to absorb and deflect sounds away from desks near busy throughways are just some of the creative ways to improve the acoustics of a space.
With some careful thought to office design and materials, the way in which we view our working environments can be drastically changed for us all.